Posts tagged with "the cultural landscape foundation":

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It’s high time to memorialize the South’s history of lynching

Next Tuesday, Republican Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith will go head to head in a runoff election against Democrat Mike Espy for Mississippi’s remaining U.S. Senate seat. Since the midterm election in which no candidate received over 50 percent of the vote, her campaign has been under major threat, and she’s been laying low due to an off-hand comment she recently made at a rally. In praise of a local supporter in Tupelo, Mississippi, she laughingly said:
“If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.”
After a video of the moment went viral on Twitter, her challenger, Espy, called the remark “tone deaf.” The incumbent senator is defending it now as “an exaggerated expression of regard,” claiming it was taken out of context. She'll face Espy in a debate tonight without outside press or an audience present, reported the Jackson Free Press earlier today. Hyde-Smith’s poor choice of words, whether meant as a joke or not, represents the irreverent and ignorant way many Americans look back on the horrific lynchings that took place in the Jim Crow South. What makes this even more deeply inappropriate is that Hyde-Smith said this in her native Mississippi, the state that notoriously conducted the most amount of public hangings on record. President Trump is set to a hold rally in support of Hyde-Smith next Monday ahead of Tuesday’s election, but Democrats appear to be reinvigorated and could pull off another upset in the South.    While we as a country have worked to acknowledge our harsh history of racial tension and inequality through monuments and museums dedicated to slavery, black culture, and the civil rights movement, we’ve barely begun to take the much-needed step toward memorializing the thousands of victims tortured, murdered, and hung in 12 U.S. states from 1877 to 1950. According to a new report by The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) entitled, Landslide 2018: Grounds for Democracy, numerous lynching sites in Shelby County, Tennessee, are virtually unmarked for their historical significance. Walking by these nondescript places, no one would know that hundreds of spectators once gathered there in carnival-like fashion to witness these unforgivable acts of racial terror. TCLF makes its case for the recognition of these places by digging into the lynchings of four African Americans in and around Memphis: Mississippi-laborer Lee Walker who was arrested and hung in 1983 for looking like a man who allegedly tried to sexually assault two white women; People’s Grocery owner Thomas Moss, and his employees Will Stewart and Calvin McDowell who all suffered fateful deaths in 1892 because a white grocer nearby instigated a rumor that the Stewart had injured him; cotton farmer Jesse Lee Bond who was shot, castrated, and drowned in 1939 because he asked for a receipt at a store; and woodcutter Ell Persons who was lynched and burned in 1917 after being accused of decapitating a 15-year-old white girl. While there aren’t any grave markers for these victims, their deaths have continued to echo through America’s development as a 21st-century country. TCLF noted that, according to Dr. Jacova Williams of Clemson University’s Department of Economics, southern counties that held more historical lynchings have lower voter registration rates among African Americans today. This sad reality must be altered, and TCLF argues the only way to do it is by shining a light on such sites and their jarring stories. It’s key to our country's ability to heal and move forward as a collective society, they say.  “Our shared and fragile landscape legacy has a powerful role to play in helping us understand where we come from,” said Charles A. Birnbaum, TCLF President and CEO, in a statement, “especially in the current debates, conversations, and analyses of our national identity.” These Shelby County sites are listed among 10 other at-risk historic sites and landscapes associated with human and civil rights in the U.S. Laid out in TCLF's Landslide 2018 report, every site is currently in danger of being redeveloped or demolished altogether. Some simply suffer from a lack of resources, an equally foreboding issue that plagues communities and organizations trying to bring recognition to near-forgotten places around the country. Other sites, like those found in Tennessee, have long been suppressed. But things are changing. This summer, The National Memorial for Peace and Justice opened in Montgomery, Alabama, and was dedicated to the more than 4,440 African American men, women, and children who were hanged in the South. The memorial, built by the Equal Justice Initiative and designed by MASS Design Group, has been praised by visitors and design critics alike for its beauty, timeliness, and national importance.  Architect and speaker John Cary, who authored the 2017 book Design for Good, has toured public projects around the world. He described the National Memorial as “one of the most extraordinary memorial buildings" he's ever seen anywhere. Others agree and are calling it the most significant memorial on U.S. soil since Maya Lin’s Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C.   While a massive work honoring those lynched in the South is an incredible step forward, it’s still important to preserve the other places where the lynchings actually happened. TCLF placed these sites in its Landslide 2018 program to call attention to their fading history and to urge Americans and preservation groups to help keep them intact. The other at-risk sites include: Blair Mountain Battlefield in Logan County, West Virginia, the site of a four-day uprising by over 10,000 armed coal miners fighting for basic workers’ rights; Druid Heights in Marin County, California, a bohemian enclave north of San Francisco where poet and lesbian feminist Elsa Gidlow lived among a group of LGBTQ activists; The Hall of Fame for Great Americans at Bronx Community College, a monument featuring 96 busts that honor high-achieving individuals across various fields; Hog Hammock on Georgia’s Sapelo Island, home to the last descendants of the enslaved Saltwater Geechee community; Japanese American Confinement Sites located across the West Coast where over 120,000 people were held during World War II; Lincoln Memorial Park in Miami, Florida, a 20-acre African American cemetery in Dade County housing soldiers from the Civil War to the Iraq War; Lions Municipal Golf Course in Austin, Texas, the first desegregated course in the South; Princeville, North Carolina, the first U.S. town incorporated by African Americans; and Susan B. Anthony’s Childhood Home in Battenville, New York. All of these landscapes have played a critical role in America’s growth and continue to shape how we interact with one another, as well as how we fight and vote for a less violent, more equitable future. Get the full story behind these historic sites and why they’re in danger here.
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The Cultural Landscape Foundation announces threatened landscapes of 2017

On October 12, The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) released its annual assessment of “threatened and at-risk landscapes” in the United States. This year’s thirteen sites were organized based on five themes: “monetization of open space,” in which parks come under pressure to generate profit; “resource extraction,” which is under particular attack by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, who proposed relaxing management rules for six monuments, exposing them to mining and logging; “park equity,” charging to use parks or converting them to sport and cultural venues; “detrimental effects of shadow,” where the surrounding development is built up to the point where the park no longer receives adequate light; and “the devaluation of cultural lifeways,” in which ancestral lands and other sites of cultural significance are threatened. These landscapes span a broad set of environments, from Greenacre Park in New York City to the Boundary Waters wilderness area in northeastern Minnesota. Twelve sites are listed below. The others, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah and Gold Butte in Nevada, are three of the six threatened National Monuments that come under threat if the Antiquities Act of 1906 allows Zinke to adjust boundaries that could open up the potential of mining and drilling. Discovery Park Seattle At over 530 acres in the Puget Sound, Discovery Park is the largest public park in Seattle. Featuring work from the Olmsted Brokers, Dan Kiley, Ian Tyndall, and Peter Ker Walker, the park is under threat from an art campus that would, among other things, host concerts in a 600-seat auditorium. Coyote Valley San Jose, California Under threat of suburban sprawl from the surrounding Silicon Valley, Coyote Valley is 7,400 acres of undeveloped land that is used for farming, a corridor for wildlife, and flood control. Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area Northeastern Minnesota One million acres of forestland that was protected by the 1964 Wilderness Act is now under threat of mining. Jackson Park Chicago The Obama Presidential Center has claimed a portion of the iconic 1871 park, designed by Frederick Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, for its own. Fort Negley Nashville Formerly a Civil War fortification built by enslaved African Americans, Fort Negley Park is now a site of cultural and historic significance. The City of Nashville is proposing to build a mixed-use development on 40 percent of the park that is currently an abandoned sports stadium and parking lot rather than return the site to park land. Sanctuary Woods Milwaukee Originally known as the Milwaukee County Asylum for the Insane, the 1880 structure by Henry Koch and its surrounding gardens was a precursor to healing gardens and designing for health. A plan to build a multi-family residential development on the site was announced earlier this year. Audubon Park and City Park New Orleans In a well-intentioned attempt to fund its park system (which is in serious need of funds), the managers of Audubon and City Parks now charge a fee for entry, limiting its public use. Boston Common Boston Boston Common and its adjacent garden, established in 1836, are under threat of a 700-foot-tall tower that would case a shadow on the space. State House Grounds Rhode Island Surrounding a Beaux-Arts building by McKim, Mead & White, the lawn and grounds could be replaced by a proposed “intermodal transportation center.” Greenacre Park New York A tiny—60 by 120 feet—park designed by Sasaki, Dawson, & DeMay could soon be devoid of sunlight thanks to new zoning regulations in Midtown Manhattan. Battery Park City New York A bid to redesign the 92-acre park in the name of resiliency could dramatically change its current landscape. James River Jamestown, Virginia Currently the largest tributary to the Chesapeake Bay, the river is under threat by a conditional permit that would build 17 transmission towers across the river and another 27 towers throughout the region.
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The National Park Service releases guide to the cultural landscapes of Philadelphia

To most, the words "National Park" provokes images of Yellowstone and Yosemite. The National Park Service (NPS) would like to broaden that image to include historic sites and notable open spaces within U.S. cities. To celebrate its 100th anniversary, the NPS has partnered with the Washington, D.C.–based The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) to release a new guide to the historic and notable open spaces in Philadelphia. The project is spearheaded by the Urban Agenda, an initiative within the NPS to make parks accessible and relevant to city dwellers. In addition to highlighting parks, plazas, and gardens, the online What’s Out There Cultural Landscapes Guide has entries for the neighborhoods, museums, homes, schools, and houses of worship that make Philadelphia Philadelphia. The city's book features over 50 significant sites, which users can filter by type, theme, style, or designer. Each entry has images and a written description of the site design and history. Among many luminaries, the guide highlights the contributions of nineteenth century garden cemetery designer Philip M. Price, Thomas Holme, inventor of the Philadelphia Plan; and I.M. Pei, Louis Kahn, Robert Venturi, and Denise Scott Brown, 20th century architects who have contributed to Philadelphia's built environment. The guides build on TCLF's What's Out There database, which contains over 1,900 sites in the U.S. and Canada. Besides National Parks, the guide has information on National Historic Landmarks, National Natural Landmarks, National Heritage Areas, Land and Water Conservation Fund Sites, and National Register of Historic Places landscapes. TCLF already has non-NPS affiliated guides for Chicago, Denver, D.C., and Toronto, and over the next 18 months, the NPS and TCLF will release guides for Boston, New York, and Richmond, Virginia, Next City reports.
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Cultural Landscape Foundation celebrates the “Olmsted of Los Angeles” this weekend

The Cultural Landscape Foundation continues its "What's Out There" series this weekend with tours and events centered around Ralph Cornell, long considered the dean of Southern California landscape architecture. (Some even call him "The Olmsted of Los Angeles.") The event coincides with the opening today of the exhibition, Ralph D. Cornell: Dean of Southern California Landscape Architecture, at the UCLA Charles E. Young Research Library. Cornell’s portfolio spans pretty much every style and typology there is, including Picturesque, Beaux Arts, and Modernist styles, city parks, subdivisions, luxury hotels, college campus master plans, and civic landscapes. Some of his most famous commissions include the master plan for UCLA, the plan for Pomona College, Beverly Gardens Park, Rancho Los Cerritos, and the landscapes for the Department of Water and Power building, the Music Center, and the Los Angeles Civic Center. The event features more than a dozen tours of Cornell's landscapes across Southern California.